Wicker Asks VA Secretary to Address Physician Appeals System

Miss. Senator Urges Removal of Incompetent Doctors in VA System

December 6, 2017

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin urging him to review VA policy and relevant U.S. laws regarding the removal of doctors who have been deemed clinically incompetent.

The letter states, in part:

“Working with the VA, Congress passed important accountability reform legislation in August. However, this legislation - the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act - did not address the full scope of the process necessary to removing VA physicians for clinical competence reasons. The circumstances of Dr. Eleraky's case and reinstatement demonstrate the need for further reform. I support your ongoing effort to reviewing potential policy and legislative changes regarding the removal of unqualified physicians.”

Wicker’s letter is in response to recent revelations regarding the firing and subsequent reinstatement in April 2017 of Dr. Mohamed Eleraky at the Jackson VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Jackson, Miss. The neurosurgeon was fired in August 2016 and was suspended from performing surgeries or seeing patients following a botched spinal fusion surgery in 2013.

The VA has paid Eleraky more than $1 million over the course of 3½ years, during which he has not performed any surgeries.

Read the Senator’s full letter to Sec. Shulkin here.